May: Message from Avon & Somerset PCC
Stronger communities are safer communities
STRONGER communities are safer communities. However, strong communities can only thrive if we continue to develop our relationships, working together as residents, local people and the police. So I was pleased to see the police and the local community coming together to celebrate the opening of a new memorial garden in Castle Park in Bristol. The memorial honours 83,000 Sikh soldiers who lost their lives in the first and second World Wars. It is of the utmost importance that we remember that in both wars Sikh soldiers, as well as people of other faiths, stood shoulder to shoulder to form part of the British Army. The memorial is a wonderful place that the old and young alike can visit and remember the bravery of the Sikh soldiers.
Supporting and reflecting our diverse communities is an important part of my role and a specific priority within my Police and Crime plan. I was therefore delighted to attend the new Bristol Muslim Strategic Leaders Group; this important group is looking at ways our Muslim communities can be more involved within our public services. Making sure our public services not only reflect the communities they serve with the people they employ but also that the service reflects their needs and those of their community is absolutely essential.
I really welcomed the national ‘Make Yourself Heard’ campaign that aims to raise awareness of a silent 999 system. The Silent Solution system enables 999 mobile callers who are too scared to make a noise or to speak to press 55 when prompted, informing police that they are in a genuine emergency. There could be occasions where speaking out loud is not possible or would put you in more danger, and that is why knowing about the 55 service is important. We need to ensure everyone knows about the system, as in extreme situations, it could potentially save lives.
The campaign was launched during National Stalking Awareness Week. On average, around 100 incidents take place before a stalking crime is reported and we need to encourage victims to come forward and seek help from either the police or other agencies.
We need to bust the myth that stalking involves someone sitting in the bushes outside your house; stalking can include persistent and unwanted behaviour that causes the victim anxiety or fear. It’s obsessive and could take the form of social media, texting, calling or sending unwanted gifts. Stalking steals lives so please tell someone.